There’s a belief that it takes 100 hours to become proficient at something. And 10,000 hours to be an expert. Those numbers sound daunting when you’re starting from zero. But like any big task, when you break it down to smaller steps, it’s doable. Can you change your life in 18 minutes a day?
Let’s start with the 100-hour proficiency goal. You could decide you’re going to hit it hard, binge large blocks of time each week—maybe even commit a weekend or two to hit your 100 hours in the fastest amount of time you can.
Leave the bingeing to watching a television series. For creating lasting change, small bits of focused time will deliver better results. It’s like a crash diet. Sure, you might lose weight, but you haven’t changed your eating habits. You revert to the eating behavior that is your habit, which contributed to your weight gain in the first place.
A 2009 study of 96 people concluded a person can create a habit in 18 to 254 days. The outcome depends on the habit. For example, doing a daily cardio workout might be a more challenging behavior to adopt than committing to flossing your teeth every morning.
On average, it takes a minimum of 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit. So, make it a habit of investing 18 minutes a day in your own betterment—personal, professional, or both.
If you decide to commit 18 minutes a day to mental stimulation toward achieving a specific goal, at the end of a year, you will have invested 109.5 hours toward your betterment. More importantly, whatever the change you wanted to make will have become ingrained as an automatic behavior—otherwise known as a habit.
How much time do you spend texting or checking social media on your phone? How long is your commute to work or taking the kids to school? When you look at how you spend your time, where could you find 18 minutes to do something more productive? What proficiency would you like to gain?
I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Whether I’m traveling, walking, exercising, or doing errands, I can easily find 18 minutes a day to gain inspiration and knowledge from a well-chosen audiobook or podcast. And I commit to exercising in some form every single day.
I’ve been asked how I can find the time. The answer is, I MAKE the time. And let’s be honest, how hard is it to free up 18 minutes in the course of your day? Maybe limit your social media, online browsing, or killing time by watching television or videos, or playing games on your phone.
You know how you can become better? Starting by becoming AWARE. Pay attention to how you allocate your time on a regular basis. Time yourself on certain tasks, chores, or errands. Figure out how you can shift your priorities to benefit yourself.
There’s no mystery to making positive change in your life. You just have to decide it’s worth your effort.
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